View Poll Results: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

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  • Yes, according to my bloodtests, but didn't have any symptoms

    6 2.31%
  • Yes, with mild symptoms that was treated with B12

    12 4.62%
  • Yes, with serious health problems that could be cured

    5 1.92%
  • Yes, with serious, non-curable symtoms (eg. neurological damage)

    1 0.38%
  • Yes, during pregnany, with birth defects as a result

    0 0%
  • No / I don't think so / not tested

    153 58.85%
  • No, not according to my blood tests

    51 19.62%
  • No, not according to my blood tests that also included MMA amd homocysteine tests

    7 2.69%
  • No, but one or more of my meat eating friends have had B-12 defiency

    14 5.38%
  • Yes, before I became a vegan

    5 1.92%
  • Yes, but this may be a result of my B12 / health conditions before I became a vegan

    3 1.15%
  • My B12 levels are in the low normal range, but that doesn't worry me much

    3 1.15%
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Thread: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

  1. #51
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I think everybody - vegans or not - should take a B12 test, because B12 is so important and so many (both vegans, lacto-vegetarians and meat-eaters) have low levels.

    This poll won't tell anything about the B12 levels in vegans who don't take supplements, because many of the people who reply may take eg. multivitamins. Maybe we'll have another poll about vegans who don't take supplements later. But after some months, we'll get an impression about how many of our members who've actually had B12 deficiency, including serious cases of irreversible B12 deficiency.

  2. #52
    ♥♥♥ Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    How do I get a test? Do I just request one at my doctor's office? Would they be curious to know why I wanted a test?
    Peace, love, and happiness.

  3. #53
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Quote Tigerlily View Post
    How do I get a test? Do I just request one at my doctor's office?
    Yes.

    Would they be curious to know why I wanted a test?
    Maybe, maybe not. But since several studies show that 40% of the tested persons are low in B12, they should understand why. (These tests have been testing all people, not only vegans...)
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  4. #54

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I don't supplement often; the last time I got blood tests the doctor remarked I had "shedloads" of B12 - the value was over the therapeutic range.

  5. #55

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I voted yes, but I'm not sure the symtoms were too severe but they weren't mild either. What happened was that when I first became vegan I didn't take supliments. This went on for about 2 years. Then on my 2nd year at Uni I felt really ill with ME like symptoms. My dad perswaded me to take a multivitamin that included B12 although it still took me ages to get better. Even after that. This also could be due to the fact that while at Uni I was eating a really unhealthy diet. Hardly any vegitables and most of what I ate was fried or microwaved. I just didn't have time to eat properly or sleep much because as well as uni I also had to commute from Birmingham to Wolverhamton every day and take care of my critters. At the time one of them was very ill which was a major mental strain on me. I was also having a number of other problems at Uni (with my course and another student) and mum had cancer which was also stressing me out. So it could have been a combenation of things as well as a lack of B12. As I didn't think of getting my B12 tested I don't know for deffinate.

  6. #56
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    In The Vegetarian's Self-Defense Manual (Dr. Richard Bargen, 1979) writes: "After careful review of all the literature often quoted as demonstrating 'pure' vegetarians often suffer Vitamin B12 deficiency because of inadequate dietary intake, not one solitary case was found wherein a vegan consuming an adequate, purely plant food diet suffered any ill health due to Vitamin B12 deficiency or any other deficiency. This finding contradicts the statements made in virtually every textbook of medicine and nutrition I've ever come across".

    We know this is wrong, there are documented cases of B12 deficiencies among vegans. Of course there are, lots of non-vegans are B12 deficient, and going vegan is not known for curing B12 deficiencies!

    The earth is populated by circa 6.5 billion humans. Now, if only 0.5%* of these would be vegans or vegetarians not using any dairy products, that would be 32 500 000 vegans world wide. According to a number of studies, it seems reasonable to believe that at 10% of the world population is B12 deficient (although the definition of what threshold one should use for a deficiency is discussable).

    If vegans would be as B12 deficient as non-vegans - not more, not less, that would mean that there would be 650 000 B12 deficient vegans out there. Now, let's say my example is totally wrong, and that by numbers are wrong, and reduce this number by, say 90%. There would still be 65 000 people out there which are vegans and B12 deficient.

    Where are all these people?

    Consider this as an encouragement to participate in the poll...



    *About 2 percent of Americans ages six to 17 (about 1 million) are vegetarian, the same percentage as among American adults, and 0.5 percent are vegan, according to a 2002 survey by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG).
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  7. #57

    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    i'm not voting because i'm not really sure where i might fit....but i've never been diagnosed as being B12 deficient, but i started taking a B-complex vitamin regularly and it completely changed my life. i feel amazing now, and if i miss it for more than a few days i definitely can feel a difference.

    perhaps everybody, defficient or not, could benefit.

  8. #58

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I voted no, even though I haven't been tested because I check my nutrient info daily and even after stopping my supplement, I'm still well over 100% of my B12 requirement.

  9. #59

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    The problem I think, is that people who do suffer from B12 may decide to give up veganism. After all when you go vegan, there are always a number of concerned family and friends who feel without any dairy pus or animal corpses, you are likely to fall very sick and end up in hospital. So if a newish vegan did fall sick from lack of B12 their family are likely to pounce on this.

    It didn't happen here. My family chose to Blame my rat companions instead. At the time I thought I had ME as I didn't know about the need for B12, but reading about B12 deficency it seems a lot of the symtoms were there although there is the fact my diet in general was completely unhealthy, not having the time to eat properly and all that.

  10. #60
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I've just got back from having a food sensitivity and vitamin test - apparently I am defficient in vitamins B2, B6 and B12 I eat a varied diet and include yeast extract and fortified soya milk daily. I was given some B-Vitamin complex pills to take, but not sure how I feel about taking vitamin pills
    "Born on the same planet, Covered by the same skies..."

  11. #61
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    If you eat fortified food anyway, what's the difference between that and pills? I know it's absorbed better if you chew, maybe you could grind them up and add them to food?

  12. #62
    Cookie Monster RachelJune's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote twinkle View Post
    If you eat fortified food anyway, what's the difference between that and pills?
    Good point, Twinkle!

    Quote twinkle View Post
    I know it's absorbed better if you chew, maybe you could grind them up and add them to food?
    I guess I could try doing that..

    Cheers xx
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  13. #63
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Do you mind if I ask who did the test, RachelJune? It's just that I've heard some tests done at health food shops etc are not that reliable. Either way you might want to think about getting another test done to confirm?

    I don't mind taking the odd vitamin tablet, esp B12 ones, as you have to eat quite a lot of fortified food to meet some of the recommendations for B12 (though not the RDA I don't think).

  14. #64
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    I've just taken a B12 supplement. I don't eat fortified foods and as a rule am against taking supplements. However, I have been having tingling in my hands and feet and feeling a bit strange lately. I think I'll go for a blood test but I thought I'd take the pills to see if it makes any difference.
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
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  15. #65

    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    a friend of a friend of mine, has been vegan for quite a long time.
    them she got pregnant, and had a baby. a couple of months after the baby was born, they found out that she had been suffering from b12 deficiency, so the beby has a mild brain damage, and will probably never be a "normal" child. i find this a bit scary, as the doctors should have tested her b12 levels, when they knew she was a vegan, right? when they found out the child had deficiency, they gave him injections, and it helped a bit, but still, the child is not normal.

    this is a really spooky b12 deficiency story.

  16. #66
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: B12 deficiency: case stories wanted

    Quote RachelJune
    I was given some B-Vitamin complex pills to take, but not sure how I feel about taking vitamin pills
    Hi,
    If my B12 levels were low, I would be more worried about having too low B12 levels than about taking supplements. However, there are different definitions of what 'low' is, and also discussion about healthy plant eaters need as much B12 as the average population - plus, unless you have tested yourself for MMA and homocysteine (in addition to serum B12), you can't really know the real levels of active B12.

    There's also there rare situation that you consume enough B12, but have an issue with absorbing it.

    Quote RedWellies
    ...as a rule am against taking supplements.
    In a natural world, supplements shouldn't be needed - but we don't live in a natural world. As a rule, I'm against that B12 is killed along with natural microorganisms and bacteria, but we just have to accept that we're all exposed to B12 'destroyers'...

    Eating organic/healthy varied food is no guarantee for getting enough B12 in today's world. (To our non-vegan visitors: eating animal products isn't either!).

    I'm not going to post another link to 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency to show what I mean by that.

    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  17. #67
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    i don't think i've ever been tested for it... but they did take my blood a lot to test for anemia when i was pregnant. i wouldn't be surprised if they tested for b12 at that point.


    my dad had pernicious anemia (lack of b12) that was causing him to black out. this was after he kept bugging me about b12 because of my diet. my dad is quite omnivorous.

    i think his b12 problems were a result of his alcohol issues, though.
    hannah, 28 (vegan), bryce, 28 (ovolacto), xylia born january 2005 (vegan)

  18. #68

    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    tested last month and all my bloods came back absolutely fine - no B12 or iron deficiencies and 17 years a vegan
    'Spring will soon pounce [like a floppy kitten]'. Whalespace.

  19. #69
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I really envy you Linda..............17 years vegan, I wish I was!

    I recently had blood tests done too and everything was normal..................AND my cholesterol was down to 3.8

  20. #70

    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    17 years is a while I guess but VegCurry has been vegan for longer! Is nice when the Docs assume your diet must be a cause of any illness to be able to say you have been vegan for years with no problems!
    'Spring will soon pounce [like a floppy kitten]'. Whalespace.

  21. #71
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Yes doctors like to do that don't they?
    My mum had a B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia) and she wasn't veggie or vegan. So, I suppose if I ever had a B12 deficiency the doctor would assume it was because I was vegan and not because of any hereditary factor.

  22. #72

    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I've never had low B-12 according to my blood tests.
    context is everything

  23. #73
    TheBringer
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Not tested but I've been vegan for a year. I took pills for a while but I cant pay for them anymore and they seem like too much of a hassle. I haven't felt problems but one or two more years will tell. If its so easy to get tested then its def. worth it. Do they also tell you your blood type?
    I know that some seaweed has alot of B12. I think if you eat enough veggies you should be fine. Read this if you haven't. It should prove this enough:

    ancient vegan civilization

  24. #74
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I've never actually heard of anyone having a dietry B12 deficiency - it must be incredably rare - certainly in the UK.

  25. #75
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Now pericious anaemia is due to an inability to absorb B12 rather than a dietry deficiency- it does have a genetic element in tis aetiology (people who have it are also more prone to get Diabetes 1, hypothyroidism, even Addison's disease)- Really it would always be the first thing we'd think of if someone was found to have a B12 deficiency rather than blame their diet - PA is not that uncommon but true dietry deficinecy really is. However the story is now more complex with the homocysteine/methionine business - in which suboptimal (rather than deficient) levels of B12 are associated with an increased incidence of sudden cardiac death or so I understand (this is not my area!)

  26. #76
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Quote TheBringer View Post
    I think if you eat enough veggies you should be fine. Read this if you haven't. It should prove this enough:

    ancient vegan civilization
    Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as just 'eating enough vegetables'. The people in the tribe (in that thread you are referring to) have a totally different lifestyle than we have, they don't live in the over-sterilized environment we do, don't drink chlorinated water and is not exposed to nitrous oxide from cars the way we are (etc).

  27. #77
    Zero
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    B12 deficiencies are actually the same or higher in omnivores than vegans. Particularly smokers, as smoking destroys B12.

    Just because animal products have B12 in them does not mean your body can actually absorb it. B12 is made by bacteria in the soil and in the intestines, not directly by the animals that omni's eat.

    One of the problems is pesticides, the soil used for growing conventional produce is often missing this bacteria.
    Therefore Organic foods are often more likely to contain B12, and you can always eat those foods that are fortified with B12 if you are concerned.

    Not only is B12 one of the most recycled nutrients in your body but trace amounts form naturally in your intestines (however there is speculation as to how much and whether it gets absorbed), it can take up to with no new B12 intake 20 years to develop a defiency.

    In the end, a bad diet is a bad diet whether it's Omni, veggie or vegan. Eating healthier and more organic help with this in my opinion.

  28. #78
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    B12 deficiencies are actually the same or higher in omnivores than vegans.
    While meat eaters normally have lower levels of certain nutrients than vegans, lots of studies show that vegans normally have lower levels of B12 than meat eaters. There are lots more meat eaters that are B12 deficient than vegans, but that's just because there are more meat eaters around...

  29. #79

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Quote Zero View Post
    Not only is B12 one of the most recycled nutrients in your body but trace amounts form naturally in your intestines (however there is speculation as to how much and whether it gets absorbed), it can take up to with no new B12 intake 20 years to develop a defiency.
    I've read that it's recycled for some people but aparantly this does not apply to everyone. I was very ill with ME like symptomes which could have been due to lack of B12.

    The problem is that sometimes when people fall ill after being vegan they will automatically blame it on the diet wheras if they fall ill and they are meat eaters they don't. Most people fall ill sometimes especially if their imune systems aren't very robust.

  30. #80
    Vegan Delight Essy Strudel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I have been tested a few times and never had a problem, but I take a multi-vitamin now with high levels of vitamin B12 just in case.
    Live honourably by becoming what you pretend to be. - Socrates

  31. #81

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    Unhappy Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    hi,Im not sure if im posting this in the right place or not but here goes,

    I have been vegan for just over 6 years now, when I decided to go vegan my main health concerns were getting enough calcium and B12, however after researching and reading up on these issues I personally thought that the B12 issue was probably a bit of hype against vegans and that if a healthy vegan diet was followed then a B12 or calcium deficiency would be very unlikey.

    With regards to getting enough calcium since becoming vegan I have always made sure I fulfill the RDA through fortified soya milk,yogurts and tofu along with green veg etc.

    About 3 years ago,I began feeling very tired, shaky and as if my mind was in a fog, quite low in mood too and very lethargic. I had blood tests which revealed very low B12 levels, I was advised to have the course of B12 injections and after considering the possible serious effects of B12 deficiency I reluctantly had the injections. I felt so much better very soon after having the B12 shots. The doctor said I should have these injections every 3 mths but I was determined to improve my levels through diet and oral supplements to prove that avegan diet can be healthy. I made sure I had even more foods fortified wth B12, soya milk,cereals,yeast extract,margarine, energy drinks etc.

    I had a further blood test 3 months later which revealed a B12 level in the low normal range, the doctor ws surprised at this as he said with the injections a higher level would be expected, I felt ok though and wasnt too worried as it was in the normal range and thought the best plan of action was to continue to ensure I was eating foods containing B12.

    Around the same time as this, I was involved ina minor car accident which resulted in a whiplash injury. The pain from this went on for a while so I was referred for an MRI scan which revealed a broken bone in my neck. As this wasnt expected due to the low impact of the accident, I was sent for a bone density test which revealed osteoporosis. I was very shocked by this as I was 27 at the time and to be told this was devastating.

    For the last few weeks I have been feeling very lethargic again, in a mental fog and unusually tired, Ive had a blood test and yet again my B12 levels are low, my folate level is crazily high which is related to B12 deficiency and my liver functions are abnormal apparently asa result f this. I am due to have the B12 injections again. Im aware that this could be an absorption issue and have had tests for coeliac disease which affects the absorption of B12 but these have come back negative.

    I have been a committed vegan for 6 years and durin that time have always tried to ensure I eat a healhy balance diet,and have always believed passionately that to follow a vegan diet is the most natural and ethical way to live. However I am curently experiencing a loss of faith if you like, I appreciate that B12 deficiencies and osteoporosis does occur in omnivores and have read research and literature on both of these conditions but now I cant help feeling that the mainstream medical view on these health conditions and thevegan diet may have some substance.

    As these health conditions are both potentially very serious, should I look after my own health and introduce dairy back into my diet and accept that the vegan diet has not physically suited me or do I continue being vegan? I find this dilemma very difficult as im not even sure I could bring myself to eat dairy again but I have my health to consider.

    My partner and his mum are both vegan and have also developed B12 deficiencies in the past remedied with the injections.

  32. #82

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    sorry that was a long post, Thanks for reading it and I look forward to hearing your thoughts

    x

  33. #83
    CATWOMAN sandra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I'm sorry to hear about your health problems darkangel. I'm sure there are many more qualified people on the forum who can advise you, but have you considered that you may have developed these conditions even if you weren't vegan?
    Surely, if you were insuring your diet was adequately providing you with the RDA of calcium and B12 you shouldn't have developed a deficiency. As you said deficiencies occur in non-vegans too, my own mother who was neither vegetarian or vegan developed pernicious anaemia.
    I do understand why you are worried though and as I said before I'm sure someone on the forum will be able to give you good advice as to what to do.
    I like Sandra, she keeps making me giggle. Daft little lady - Frosty

  34. #84

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Quote darkangel View Post
    As these health conditions are both potentially very serious, should I look after my own health and introduce dairy back into my diet and accept that the vegan diet has not physically suited me or do I continue being vegan? I find this dilemma very difficult as im not even sure I could bring myself to eat dairy again but I have my health to consider.
    Hi darkangel, have you had tests to see whether your B12 deficiency is due to intrinsic factor problems? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic_factor If it is you'll need to take B12 injections or take a high dose supplement sublingually (disolves under the tongue) for the rest of your life. If you do have an intrinsic factor problem your B12 deficiency is not due to your vegan diet but you may have exhibited symptoms sooner than if you were omni. If you don't have an IF problem and your low B12 status is purely due to diet then I'd say do what you have to do to make sure you are getting adequate amounts of B12, your health is paramount.

    Osteoporosis can occur at a young age due to various medical conditions. Have you had tests to see whether that could be the case?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osteoporosis It may be that you're not absorbing enough calcium due to lack of vitamin D. Have you had tests done to see whether you are deficient in that vitamin?
    http://www.nos.org.uk/

    It's quite possible that you'd have had these health problems if you weren't vegan but for peace of mind you need to have confirmation of that. If I were you I'd ask for as many tests as possible to see whether it's diet or underlying conditions that have led to them. I wish you all the best

  35. #85
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Hi Darkangel,

    I'm sorry to hear about your health problems too.
    Unfortunately, there's a tendency to think that if a veggie becomes sick, it's because he or she is a veggie, but if a meat eater becomes ill, he just... becomes ill.

    Have you seen this thread: Nutrient deficiencies more common in meat eaters than in vegans?

    As you can see, lots of meat eaters are deficient in various nutrients, but unfortunately, most of them still aren't considering going vegan... they should, because it would be better for them, for the animals, and for the environment.

    There are lots of reasons that people become B12 deficient. The list in 50 ways to develop B12 deficiency is far from complete.

    Today's soil is generally very nutrient depleted, and can be low in cobalt and microorganisms needed for B12 synthesis. The water most of us use is chlorinated. Most of us work indoors, get too little vitamin D - and vitamin D is needed for B12 absorption... and the list does on.

    Anyway, whether you are suffering from some of the many reasons that could imply a (vegan-independent) B12 absorption problem, or you are deficient for other reasons, you need a solution.

    There are two 'unnatural' solutions available: taking supplements, or eating animal products from living beings that have been given minerals and vitamins, been grassing on fortified soil and kept in captivity for their whole life. Often, there's no natural solution to an unnatural problem, and even if you wouldn't care if you had to kill wild, free, 'natural' animals for nutrients, there simply aren't enough wild animals out there to satisfy humans' "needs'.

    If you would eat animal products to get nutrients, you would actively contribute not only to animal suffering, but you would also contribute to damaging the environment in ways that just would make the list over reasons to become B12 deficient longer. One reason the soil IS depleted is that humans for some reason use huge amounts of land for animal food - growing the land in the most 'efficient' way (using pesticides etc)... and they need a lot of land to eg. make animal protein compared with growing protein rich plants there.

    There are more than 1 billion people living in Europe and USA alone. Conservative estimates suggest that 10% of these people are B12 deficient, and when it comes to other nutrients, the numbers are much higher (among non-vegans). Some people suggest that everybody should take B12 supplements, and some studies show that 40% of all people are deficient. Remember that the 10% of all people that are B12 deficient are not based on real tests - they only measure B12 in blood, and a third of the B12 we carry around is inactive B12 analogues. Studies show that twice as many people are considered B12 deficient if MMA and homocysteine tests are taken into consideration. And: not only does lots of these non-vegans take supplements and eat fortified food, they also eat 'fortified' meat and milk...

    Anyway, If only 0.5% of this billion are vegans/vegetarians that don't eat animal products, that's 5 million vegans. If we should have the same rate of B12 deficiency as non-vegans, that would be 500,000 B12 deficient vegans - except that these numbers are wrong, because B12 tests in blood aren't reliable, the real numbers are approx. twice as high. In other words, if we would have the same B12 deficiency rate as non-vegans, there would be one million B12 deficient vegans in a group of 1 billion people. And again: Remember that unlike non-vegans, vegans don't eat anything from B12 'fortified' animals...

    Maybe there aren't 0.5% vegans in the Western population, maybe there's less - but you get the picture. Even with only 0,1% vegans in a population group, there would be 200,000 B12 deficient vegans pr. one billion people with the same deficiency rate as non-vegans. Vegans have a higher rate of B12 deficiency than non-vegans (we don't eat others muscles or liver, and B12 is stored in muscles and liver), but lower rate of other deficiencies.

    I hope you choose one of the 'unnatural' solutions that's best for you/animals/the environment.... The good news is that by not relying on dairy/meat etc for your B12, you avoiding the many health issues associated with eating animal products!


    should I look after my own health and introduce dairy back
    Definitely yes to the first question, definitely no to the last one... If you have one of the many variations of absorption problems, B12 is better absorbed from supplements than from animal products anyway (this has to do with protein-bindings etc). If your doctor really insists that you can't get sufficient B12 orally (from supplements - which may contain loads more B12 than any dairy product out there), adding dairy products doesn't make sense at all - even if you wouldn't have been a vegan.

    I personally thought that the B12 issue was probably a bit of hype against vegans and that if a healthy vegan diet was followed then a B12 or calcium deficiency would be very unlikey.
    The B12 issue IS used against vegans, but just like non-vegans are more likely to develop certain deficiency than non-vegans, vegans are more likely to develop a B12 deficiency than non-vegans in our de-naturalized world. B12 issue is a bit of a hype against being, but on false premises. There are still valid reasons to monitor your B12 levels as a vegan (and also as a non-vegan), and it wouldn't be wise to pretend that vegans never can become deficient in any nutrient. Of course we can, and B12 is the nutrient we most likely will be deficient in. Knowing about all the 'enemies' the poor B12 molecule has out there (it's a very vulnerable nutrient) I'm surprised that there aren't more B12 deficient people than it is.


    Anyway... good luck with your health conditions! I'm sorry to hear that you think eating plant based food is the cause of your problems, and I don't blame you - many non-vegans and a few vegans present info about nutrition in ways that gives the impression that veganism is some kind of disease that needs to be treated.

    (PS - Maybe this thread is interesting for you: Is oral B12 as effective as intramuscular injections?)

  36. #86
    Mzee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    darkangel,
    please start taking a B12 tablet every day - starting now! This is recommended by the Vegan Society; even if we might not be too worried about our own health, we must all try to be healthy vegans and set an example to unhealthy omnis. Don't let them get a chance to justify continuing to eat animals by being able to point to a single unhealthy vegan!

    It is difficult to find low-dose tablets. The ones I use (held under my tongue until it starts to dissolve) every morning just before breakfast has 25 micrograms, which is theoretically 25 times what you need. However, that doesn't matter; it's very cheap and the excess will be stored, broken down or excreted. I've been following this advice since becoming a vegan nearly 5 years ago; I've kept healthy and never had any need to have a blood test.

    There's nothing wrong with taking supplements that have been made to vegan standards. Many of the nutrients that omnis get from animal products (e.g. calcium in dairy products) are only there because the animals were fed supplements! [I'd also recommend one kelp tablet every other day to ensure you get enough iodine, a small pinch of powdered chalk a day for calcium, one Brazil nut a day for selenium and a heaped dessert spoon of crushed flax seed each day for Omega 3 fatty acid]. Point out to any omni who criticises you that the supplement market is an enormous one. Vegans are a very small part of this market, so most of these supplements are consumed by omnis, who are still unhealthy due to the harmful effects of their diet!

    B12 is made under controlled conditions in tanks by fermentation of a plant source by the same type of bacteria that would naturally produce it in an animal's gut. There may or may not be some B12 in some plant products; I wouldn't want anybody to take the risk of getting enough from this source; just take one tablet a day then you don't have to worry.

  37. #87
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    With all due respect, Mzee, a person who actually have serious B12 deficiency may not get much help from a 'normal' amount of B12 from a supplement. There seem to be a lot of confusion about when 'normal' amounts of B12 is needed and when medical treatment is needed, and there are lots of things lots of us are exposed to that mean that a 'normal' amount won't even be enough (vegan or not). Some vegans also claim that if a 'normal' amount of B12 found in plants can't treat a deficiency, it isn't really useful, which of course is wrong, because a deficiency often needs much more than a 'normal' amount of B12.

    Darkangel, you mention that you experience 'a loss of faith', but there are almost nobody who have claimed that you can't develop a deficiency if you live on a 'healthy vegan diet'... You definitely can. You also mention that you feel that the mainstream medical view on these health conditions and the vegan diet may have some substance, and if we remove all the hype, all the fanatical stuff ("vegans will never become ill"), there isn't really any difference between vegan and non-vegan viewpoints on B12 - as long as these viewpoints are based on actual facts, and not assumptions. The Vegan Society published a book about vegan nutrition in the eighties that presented a lot of facts but somewhat gave the impression that one could easily get B12 from plants (more about this later), and they published another book a few years ago that went very far in the other direction... I wouldn't recommend any of these books, but rather just accept that vegans and non-vegans may develop deficiencies, and - as discussed many times - B12 is the main nutrient to pay attention to for vegans. Trusting any kind of general advice may potentially cause health problems for a lot of people.

    There are literally thousands of studies on B12 out there, and most of us don't have time to spend our lives on medical research, so many vegans take B12 regularly to be 'on the safe side' (which again is based on the assumption that we have the same B12 intake needs and that there's such a thing as being on the 'safe side'....). Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to make this confusing - it is confusing.

    There's a great chance that you have an absorption problem that can be dealt with with oral supplements. There are millions of B12 deficient people out there, and based on 100% mathematical information (no opinions of any kind involved) you are more likely to become B12 deficient than a non-vegan, and it won't help you if meat eaters are more deficient in folate and phytochemicals etc., than us.

    I read somewhere that only one percent of all people do not have a nutrient deficiency - deficiencies are normal.... vegans just need to deal with them like everyone else. My experience is that vegans are more aware of what we may be deficient in that non-vegans are about what they normally are deficient in, and there is no reason not to use all the knowledge out there to remain healthy and make sure we get the nutrients we need.

  38. #88
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Oops, sorry, darkangel! Korn is right of course.

    I take a 'low' dose of B12 because I have no known problem with absorption.

    With a serious deficiency you will of course need a much higher dose. I believe you can get B12 tablets that contain 1,000 micrograms - 40 times as much as I take. So you could try that. If you quickly start to feel better, then eventually you might be able to consider an intermediate dose.

    However, if you don't, it means that you have such poor absorption that injections may be the only answer. But that wouldn't mean that there is anything wrong with the vegan diet, you'd still be getting all the other benefits.
    Last edited by Mzee; Nov 30th, 2007 at 11:33 PM. Reason: spelling

  39. #89
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Mzee,

    could you link us to the B12 supplement you use?
    How many tablets do you get in each bottle? and also, if each pill is 25 times what you need, would it be acceptable to have one every few or couple of days as opposed to EVERY day?

  40. #90
    Jippia
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I have never had it tested, so I do not know my B12 level. I have been thinking of getting one, also for iron etc. I am always ill when something like flu is going round. Not sure if that is genetic disposition or diet or something else. My dad has the same thing.

    Mirjam

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    Red face Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Thanks for all your comments and thoughts, I am going to research B12 in more detail I think and have the injections next week so should hopefully feel better soon.

  42. #92
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Quote KrissStress View Post
    and also, if each pill is 25 times what you need, would it be acceptable to have one every few or couple of days as opposed to EVERY day?
    I don't think this would work. The body can only absorb a certain amount of a nutrient at a time and will get rid of the surplus.

  43. #93
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I don't think this would work. The body can only absorb a certain amount of a nutrient at a time and will get rid of the surplus.
    Some people who need B12 supplements take them weekly, but take much more than 7 times the recommended daily amount, because B12 is more efficiently absorbed in small amounts. Food for thought: At what levels is B12 absorption best?

    Thanks for all your comments and thoughts, I am going to research B12 in more detail I think and have the injections next week so should hopefully feel better soon.

    Thanks for all your comments and thoughts, I am going to research B12 in more detail I think and have the injections next week so should hopefully feel better soon.
    Maybe it would be a good idea to ask your doctor if you actually need injections. Lots of people don't seem to know that studies have shown that in most cases, oral therapy apparently is a good - and cheap - alternative for those who need to treat a deficiency. (I just added some more links to the thread about oral B12 therapy...)

  44. #94
    WalkingJukebox KrissStress's Avatar
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Quote pavotrouge View Post
    I don't think this would work. The body can only absorb a certain amount of a nutrient at a time and will get rid of the surplus.
    that's sensible. It would have been far too logical for me to have figured that out for myself. hahah

  45. #95
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    KrissStress,
    I think the others have probably given you most of what you asked me for. The Vegan Society's recommendations (from 'Plant Based Nutrition', 2001) say that you would need:

    3 mcg over the course of the day (e.g. from fortified foods) OR
    10 mcg supplement taken once per day OR
    2000 mcg taken once per week.
    [Korn's information is more up-to-date ]

    Personally, I like once per day, as I'm less likely to forget! With 25 mcg, I suppose it's unlikely to matter too much if I occasionally forgot (e.g. while traveling). I would find the first option unattractive, as I'd need to make sure I had some fortified food at every meal.

    I buy my tablets from a health food shop, usually from a UK company called Holland & Barrett www.hollandandbarrett.com I don't know if they'd do mail order to the US; I expect you could find the tablets locally...
    There are 100 tablets in a small bottle; I forget how much they cost. I do remember noticing that the stronger tablets were not proportionately more expensive.

  46. #96
    ivandurago
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I had a bloodtest done last summer due to my moms complaining, and everything was perfect, very healthy :P

  47. #97
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Congratulations to another healthy vegan!
    And one less worried Mom!

  48. #98
    Megan89
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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    hello i have a B12 deficiency, according to my recent blood tests. Of to see the doctor tomorrow, if she recommends these injections or whatever are they vegan?!?!

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    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    Megan 89,

    the B12 injections which I have had have been vegan, I asked to see the leaflet and it said suitable for vegans, however it has been tested on animals in the past so I struggled with that but realised I needed to look after my health.


    I had a course of injections a few years ago, 2 injectons in one week then another a week later when my b12 was very low. I had an injection last week and need another in a months time as my levels are not as low this time.

    Why do you feel that you have a B12 deficiency? have you been vegan long? do you ensure you have fortified foods?

  50. #100

    Default Re: Have you ever had a B12 deficiency caused by your diet?

    I just had mine tested just to be safe and it actually came out above normal. I think I was taking too much supplementation I've decided to cut back a bit on B12 supplements!
    When you are guided by compassion and loving-kindness, you are able to look deeply into the heart of reality and see the truth.--Thich Nhat Hanh

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